top of page

Paper: A social geometry of collaborative flood risk management (Tillamook, OR)

Haeffner, M. and D. Hellman. (2020). A social geometry of collaborative flood risk management: A hydrosocial case study of Tillamook County, Oregon. Nat Hazards 103(3), 3303-3325

Coastal and riparian flooding are costly and disruptive natural hazards and already a regular part of life in some areas of the USA. Flooding events caused by sea-level rise and climate change are expected to increase in frequency and severity in the future, creating social, ecological, and economic problems at local, city, state, and federal levels. It is clear that normative, infrastructure-oriented, and strictly hydrological solutions to flooding have not appropriately met these challenges, nor have they adequately addressed relevant socio-political factors which shape hydrological processes. Using the case study of Tillamook County, this study draws upon qualitative interview data to identify and explain social factors which have influenced the outcome of a collaborative, socially engaged flood management project. These include previous flood experience; emotions and feelings; interests and concerns; preferred management strategies; barriers to community-scientific engagement; and perceptions of a mediation process. This situation is further explored within the framework of social geometry, which is used to explain changes in social position and relationships through an interactive, collaborative process. In this case, mediation is shown to decrease both relational space and differences in status between the two primary actor groups, leading to mutually agreeable outcomes but not without dispute. Flood managers and researchers may find this case study useful when analyzing qualitative data related to flood risk management, and/or planning flood management strategies, particularly in disaster-prone regions.

Three graphs depicting social geometry diagram, with relational distance on the x-axis and status on the y-axis. Graphs show that a 3rd part mediator brings external factors (retreat and restoration) and internal factors (mitigation and no land loss) closer together within the social field.
Fig. 3 Social geometry diagram showing changes from the pre-SFC to post-SFC period in Tillamook County, with regard to actor group positions on flood management

A social geometry of collaborative flood risk management A hydrosocial case study of Tillamook County, Oregon
Download PDF • 1.23MB

8 views0 comments


bottom of page